Ryan Casillas tied the game at 2-2 with a solo home run in the ninth.
April 19, 2014
By Scott Gierman
WICHITA, Kan. – Southern Illinois took its first lead of the day in the 11th inning only to lose 4-3 to Wichita State in the 12th inning Saturday afternoon at Eck Stadium. It was a wild affair in which both head coaches were ejected for arguing with the umpiring crew. With the loss, the Salukis (20-19, 3-8 MVC) have dropped the first two games of the three-game series against the Shockers (20-18, 5-6 MVC).
After being held to three hits in the first eight innings of the game, SIU appeared to have found a way to grab a victory when the Salukis scratched across a run in the top of the 11th inning to take their first lead of the game at 3-2. Second baseman Connor Kopach drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out bloop single into shallow right field, scoring Jake Hand from second base. The ball hit off the glove of second baseman Dayne Parker.
However, Parker responded with a one-out solo home run to tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the 11th inning. The long ball snuck over the wall, just to the right of the left field foul pole. It came against SIU closer Tyler Dray who blew his second save in eight chances this season. Dray was able to escape the 11th with no further damage.
“He’s done a good job for us, and he’s had a good career, but you have to finish,” SIU Coach Ken Henderson said. “When you have a chance to win the game in the 11th, you have to put it away. You have to execute and win.”
After the Salukis failed to capitalize on Ryan Casillas’ two-out double in the top of the 12th, Wichita finally ended the game in the bottom of the inning. In his second inning of work, Dray walked Joe Haddox with one out. After Haddox stole second base with two outs, Dray intentionally walked Chase Simpson to face Parker. Parker hit a fly ball that landed near the same spot as Kopach’s single and fell between Kopach and right fielder J.C. DeMuri as Haddox crossed home plate with the game-winning run.
“That was big,” Henderson said. “I thought maybe Welch could get on in front of him and then the wind could help blow one out. I thought one of those guys had a chance. That was huge to get us into extra innings, and then we had a couple chances to win it and should’ve won it.”
The home run chased WSU starter Cale Elam from the game. Elam was trying for his second complete game of the season and finished his day with a season-high 10 strikeouts.
Reliever Foster Vielock immediately surrendered a double to Cody Daily and an infield single to Hand. That put runners at the corners with only one out. The next batter, Tyler Rolland, was retired on a called third strike. That prompted a heated exchange between Henderson and home plate umpire Travis Olson and ended in Henderson’s ejection. Matt Jones grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the threat.
While 10 of SIU’s hits came after the eighth inning, it was a pitcher’s duel early in the game.
Henderson attributed an overaggressive approach to the Salukis' low offensive output early.
“The wind was blowing out to left field, so we tried to hit everything to left field instead of staying inside balls and taking what they gave us,” Henderson said. “We did a better job of that late.”
Saluki starter Todd Eaton allowed two runs off 10 hits in seven and a third innings of work. He left with one out, a runner at second base and SIU down 2-1 in the eighth inning.
“Todd Eaton gave us a chance to win,” Henderson said. “That’s all you can ask from your starters, to keep you in the game, and he did a great job.”
Wichita State took a 2-1 lead against Eaton in the bottom of the sixth on Casey Gillaspie’s 10th home run of the season. It came on the first pitch after WSU head coach Todd Butler was ejected for arguing with first base umpire Greg Mudd. Butler’s argument centered around a groundout that he believed to be a foul ball off the foot of batter Garrett Bayliff’s foot.
Kyle Pauly was strong in relief of Eaton. He pitched two and two-thirds of an inning without surrendering a hit. The only base runner he allowed came on a one-out walk in the ninth with the game tied 2-2. Pauly quickly struck out the next two batters to send the game to extra innings. The freshman lefty then mowed through the second, third and fourth spots in the Shockers lineup in the 10th.
“He’s a young guy who is not scared,” Henderson said. “He went in and did exactly what we wanted him to do, and should’ve gotten a win.”
The Salukis will try to avoid being swept for the first time in conference play this season when they take on the Shockers in the finale on Sunday. Due to a forecast of afternoon rain, the game has been moved up an hour and will start a noon Central Time. Aaron Hauge will take the hill for SIU.